Tips for Running Successful Baseball Tryouts
Talent identification and team selection: this is the goal for all sports organizations and clubs when running baseball tryouts.
Baseball tryouts are crucial for assessing athletes on skill level, attitude, and work ethic, and most importantly, a process that shouldn’t be rushed. By carefully selecting drills, choosing evaluators, and analyzing scores, drafting decisions will be made with both precision and accuracy.
Here are 8 tips to guide you through a successful baseball tryout, guaranteeing that you assemble a well-rounded team for the upcoming season.
Pick an optimal mix of baseball tryout drills
The three main objectives of baseball tryout drills are to:
- 1. Provide you with real-time feedback on a player’s athletic capacity
- 2. Assess whether an athlete is an overall good fit for the team
- 3. Determine what position an athlete is most suitable for based on drill performance
Tips for choosing baseball tryout drills:
- Make a list of baseball skills that are most important for you to measure. I.e., hitting, fielding, pitching, and base running.
- Choose 3-4 drills under each skill. For example, when measuring pitching ability, a few baseball drills would be: Three-minute drill, T-alignment drill, and the push-off drill
- *In addition to skill-specific drills, make sure to score players on overall attitude, work ethic, and teamwork.
Learn more specifics on which baseball drills you can add to your next tryout.
Choose unbiased evaluators
Parents, family friends, former coaches: these are all examples of biased evaluators. With close ties to an athlete, they are likely to have a negative impact on final scores.
In order to ensure fairness in evaluations and create a level playing field for all athletes, choose evaluators who have no personal connections to the athletes. As a result, athletes will be assessed purely on their technique, character, and skill level, ensuring equal opportunity for all.
Tip: To streamline your baseball tryouts, designate one evaluator for each drill to ensure efficient flow. This allows evaluators to become proficient in the specific drill they are assessing.
Debrief all evaluators & assistant coaches
Once your evaluators are selected, hold a brief meeting before the tryout starts. Evaluators should be educated on what they should be looking for at the station(s) they are assigned to. Therefore, take the time to explain the scoring system to evaluators.
For instance, a perfect score (10) for throwing accuracy includes when a player can throw a pitch at the desired target. A perfect score (10) for throwing mechanics includes when a player has a relaxed grip of the ball with fingers above and thumbs under, stance is hip-width apart with shoulders and hips square to the plate, and their thigh and shin (on stride leg) forms a 90-degree angle during wind-up.
Set up drill stations
Here is a short checklist you can run through to make sure baseball drill stations are ready to go:
- Does each station have the necessary equipment? I.e., balls, bats, helmets, gloves, bases, cones, netting, pitching mound, first aid kit
- Are the stations clearly numbered? Tip: To make each station easily identifiable for players (and evaluators), print numbered signs in large & bold font on a piece of paper, taping that piece of paper to a pylon.
- Is there a sufficient amount of space at each station for athletes to run through the drill?
- Are there clear pathways, allowing for a smooth traffic flow between drills?
Provide clear instructions for drills
Run players through each baseball tryout drill right after a warm-up has been conducted. Include a brief explanation of each drill and explain what skills are being assessed at each drill station.
Note: Doing a comprehensive drill run through at the beginning of tryouts won’t disrupt the flow of the timed stations. Players will spend the allotted amount of time at each station executing the drill. And, evaluators will spend that time watching and scoring players, rather than explaining the drill.
As each station has a time limit to ensure baseball tryouts run smoothly, evaluators have the task of scoring players in a timely manner. This is where baseball evaluation software comes in. Say goodbye to printing out evaluation forms and handing them out to every evaluator at tryouts (with risk of them not getting handed back in).
With a baseball evaluation app, evaluators can score players on any skill by either: using a slider or manually entering an objective score (i.e., fastball speed time).
Score athletes right on your mobile device or tablet in the SkillShark app
Make timely team placement decisions
Players want to hear back within a reasonable time frame regarding their team selection process and what position they made. As a general rule of thumb, post tryout results within 48-72 hours after the tryout.
However, in order to ensure you have made well-informed decisions, here are a couple questions to ask:
- Have you ranked players across each core category that was assessed (i.e., hitting, fielding, pitching, base running, character)?
- Have you ran weighted reports and/or comparison reports to analyze players on more granular level?
- Have you taken at least 24-48 hours to review all evaluation data, in order to avoid making impulsive decisions?
Provide athlete feedback
Although teams have already been selected and results have been posted, there is still one more step for baseball tryouts: athlete feedback.
With every team placement decision comes an influx of questions from athletes and their parents: “Why didn’t I make the team?” “What skills did I lack on?” How can I better improve X skills?”
All of these sought-after questions, and more, can be answered through individual athlete reports. Using SkillShark, no extra steps are needed to create a report once scores are entered. All coaches have to do is navigate to the ‘Individual Reports’ tab on the app, select a player, and hit send. From there, a report is sent directly to the inbox of that athlete.
Individual reports in SkillShark
Athletes can see what skills they were evaluated on, their score, and how they compare to the team average. Additionally, any comments or videos that were added by evaluators will be included in the report.
Pocket Radar PLUS Integration with SkillShark
At the intersection of precision and performance evaluation, we are pleased to introduce our newest integration with Pocket Radar PLUS. Through this new integration, you will now be able to take velocity readings using the Pocket Radar Smart Coach Device, which will be immediately pulled into the SkillShark app.
Eliminate intricate formulas and calculations when it comes to measuring radar related metrics. With Pocket Radar, track velocity on metrics such as: Change Up, Drop Ball, Fastball, Rise Ball. Once velocity metrics are captured and imported into the SkillShark app, leverage this detailed data instantly to rank and compare players, bringing you closer to drafting top teams.
What you will need?
- An iOS or Android Device running the SkillShark App
- An iOS or Android running the Pocket Radar Sports App
- A Subscription to SkillShark’s All Star or Legend Plan
- A Pocket Radar Smart Coach Device
- A Pocket Radar PLUS Subscription
What may seem like a laundry list of tasks to tackle before reaching your end goal, baseball tryouts are an exciting process filled with valuable lessons.
If you are looking to save countless hours that come with data entry, analysis and the creation of feedback reports, SkillShark provides a streamlined solution. The baseball evaluation app serves as an all-in-one tool for scoring players, generating insightful reports, drafting teams, providing athlete feedback, and beyond.
Try SkillShark for FREE
SkillShark gives you a completely customizable baseball evaluation experience that allows you to run tryouts, camps, and clinics with ease.
- 25 Player Free Trial
- Customizable Templates
- Instant Evaluation Results